Marvelous Matcha Coconut Cheesecake {RAW VEGAN RECIPE}

raw vegan mattcha coconut cheesecake

The other day as I was shopping for groceries, I found some mattcha tea powder in the tea section. Some grocery stores and Asian supermarkets carry this magical green tea powder, and I'm addicted to the stuff. I had run out of my stash at home, making due with some green tea bags instead. That wasn't quite working. As a true tea lover, I feel that mattcha is a special ingredient. Traditionally, mattcha is used in Japanese tea ceremony, frothed up with a bamboo brush in an artful practice, showing reverence for tea.

The higher grade of mattcha tea contains a wealth of benefits. Its green color is beautifully vibrant, so many culinary uses of green tea powder acquire its color: muffins, cakes, and mattcha lattes.

Mattcha green tea powder has more nutrients than loose leaf green tea. Because mattcha powder is made of ground tea leaves, it is full of antioxidants and cancer-fighting catechins, plus amino acid L-theanine which promotes calm and relaxation, mattcha reduces stress hormone effects and boosts up the good mood vibes. You can get what's called "mattcha madness" (and, yes, I've succumbed). It's such a delightful flavor that it becomes an experience.

I added matcha to this raw vegan cheesecake recipe to create green layers in between the white of the coconut layers. Since three coconuts were used (one for each layer) it almost became "tres coco cheesecake" (that's a play on "tres leches" cake).

The base of this recipe (without mattcha) can be used for creating other flavors, such as blackberry (my next raw vegan cheesecake endeavor), strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, caramel, and many others. The taste of caramel can be created for a raw vegan recipe using dates and butterscotch extract, believe it or not. (It really tastes similar to the naughty sort of caramel, all gooey and delicious.) Choose your flavor, however, mattcha works perfectly for this raw vegan cheesecake recipe.

If you are missing the indulgence of dairy-based cheesecake, this recipe comes close to satisfying that craving, without the heavy feeling or unhealthy caloric density. It is best enjoyed cold, just thawed from the freezer. This is one delicious dessert that I don't have any qualms about eating before and/or after a good workout at the gym. If my children ask for dessert, I'll give them slice and smile, waiting to see how much they like it.

Kitchen note: I use three fresh coconuts for this recipe. You can substitute canned coconut cream, but please search your grocery shelves wisely and find the least processed coconut cream. It will taste different than the fresh coconut, as I'm not too partial to the canned stuff myself. Canned coconut cream can be found in the Asian supermarkets. Please use full fat cream! It's good fat. 

Matcha Coconut Cheesecake

raw vegan | no bake, nut-based, non-dairy, gluten-free | serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup raw almonds

  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • ¼ tsp. sea salt

Filling per layer:

  • 1 whole coconut, meat and water (3 coconuts/3 layer cheesecake)

  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked in coconut water (for 1-3 hours)

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 whole scraped vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, garnish

  • ** add 2-3 tbl pure mattcha tea powder for green mattcha layer (Matcha Love by Ito En)

Directions:

Kitchen note: each layer uses the above filling ingredients for one layer, so double or triple the recipe as the ingredients are per layer, depending on how many layers for the cheesecake. Ingredient list = one layer 

1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until to desired consistency. It should stick together in your hand. Scoop out a small amount of dough and roll it in your hands to test the sticky texture. It should be neither too wet nor too dry.

2. Line the base of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Press crust mixture into a 7” springform cake pan. You can use a smaller mini-cake pan such as 4" and make two cakes, or a larger 9" springform cake pan, but know that the layers will be thinner. Using a proper springform cake pan allows you to release the mold easier for this cheesecake, resulting in a lovely layered cake, without digging into a pie pan. 3. Warm coconut oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan on low heat just until it turns to liquid. Whisk gently to blend. 4. Put entire filling ingredients (along with the melted coconut oil and maple syrup) into food processor and/or blender (I use Vitamix) and blend on highest speed until very smooth, about 40 seconds to one minute.

5. With a spoon, taste the blended mixture and adjust accordingly. The lemon juice adds the tangy "cheesecake" flavor, while the cashews thicken the cheesecake and give it that creamy heft once solid. 6. Pour the first layer mixture onto the crust. Place in freezer until solid. Repeat for each layer. You can alternate pure coconut layers with green mattcha tea layers.

7. Garnish with coconut flakes. You can also dust a little mattcha tea powder on top and edible flowers. I used a chinois to dust the mattcha powder lightly upon the coconut flakes, but that's because I don't yet have one of those fine mesh strainers. (I know.)

8. To serve, remove from freezer and thaw. allowing 45 minutes to defrost before serving. Use a sharp knife and cut into slices. It must be icy cold to make a perfect clean slice. Store remaining cheesecake in the freezer and thaw for 45 minutes to an hour before serving again. Best enjoyed very cold.